Commodified perception of culture: A rhetorical inquiry of food advertisement narratives

Consuelo Carr Salas, University of Texas at El Paso


This dissertation tests my preliminary theoretical framework of Commodified Perception of Culture, which calls on visual rhetoricians to examine not just how an image is effective in the moment, but to interrogate how the image came to be effective. The first part of this dissertation presents an exploratory case study with two embedded units of analysis. The two embedded units of analysis concentrated on 1) by seeing what images consumers paired with food products; and 2) engaging business owners to understand how they perceive their use of images paired with food products. In the second part of the dissertation, I deductively placed the results of the case study in conversation with the original conception of a Commodified Perception of Culture Framework to see where the previous framework converged and diverged from participants’ responses. With the inclusion of participants’ responses as well as with the inclusion of iconographic tacking (Gries 2015) as a theoretical and methodological framework, I inductively evolved Commodified Perception of Culture. The evolved form of Commodified Perception of Culture is a framework for visual rhetoricians that helps us know what components we should concentrate on to understand how an image is effective as well as to interrogate how it came to be so. This dissertation asks us as readers and consumers to slow down and acknowledge the images that are used to sell ethnic food products. When we pay attention to these images and ask what these images mean to different groups in different contexts, we can begin interrogating why they work rhetorically and why we keep using them.

Subject Area

Marketing|Food Science|Rhetoric

Recommended Citation

Salas, Consuelo Carr, "Commodified perception of culture: A rhetorical inquiry of food advertisement narratives" (2017). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI10619457.